1954 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith
Lot 280
Originally owned by Jimmy Chipperfield,1954 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith 4½-Litre Touring Limousine Chassis no. WVH110 Engine no. W109H
£40,000 - 60,000
US$ 49,000 - 73,000


1954 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith

Lot Details
1954 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith 1954 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith 1954 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith 1954 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith 1954 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith 1954 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith 1954 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith 1954 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith 1954 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith 1954 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith
Originally owned by Jimmy Chipperfield
1954 Rolls-Royce Silver Wraith 4½-Litre Touring Limousine
Coachwork by Freestone & Webb

Registration no. OLD 8
Chassis no. WVH110
Engine no. W109H


  • 'In a world of shattered monetary values and yet much-improved cars, the Rolls-Royce still stands alone. Perhaps the most striking general thought in considering this supreme machine today is that it has a name more universally known, more universally honoured as a symbol of quality than that of any manufactured product, and that is a proud boast, which can be put forward on behalf of a British car' – The Autocar, 9th December 1949.
    Introduced towards the end of 1946, the Silver Wraith - Rolls-Royce's first post-war model - employed a chassis similar to that of the Silver Dawn and MkVI Bentley, though with a wheelbase 7" longer at 10' 7". The 'Wraith however, was only intended for traditional coachbuilt bodies rather than the MkVI's pioneering 'standard steel' bodywork. The first prototype chassis was delivered to coachbuilders Hooper & Co in February 1946 but production problems would delay the first delivery to a private customer for another twelve months.
    Powering Rolls-Royce's post-war range was a new 4,257cc six-cylinder engine of cast-iron, monobloc construction with aluminium cylinder head featuring overhead inlet and side exhaust valves. Only the bore and stroke dimensions were shared with the pre-war overhead-valve Wraith engine, the major advantage of this new 'F-head' layout being its large valves and generous water jacketing around the valve seats. A four-speed manual gearbox with synchromesh was standard initially, an automatic option (for export models only at first) not becoming available until 1952, at which time the engine was enlarged to 4,566cc and a long-wheelbase (11' 1") version introduced. Manufacture of the short-wheelbase 'Wraith ceased in 1952, with a total production of 1,144; the long-wheelbase version continued until the introduction of the Phantom V in 1959, by which time 639 chassis had been completed.
    The last word in motoring luxury in its day, this Silver Wraith carries limousine-with-division coachwork by Freestone & Webb of North London, one of the finest of all British coachbuilders and a firm associated with quality marques from its earliest days, particularly Rolls-Royce, Bentley and Mercedes-Benz. Freestone & Webb was taken over by H R Owen in 1955 and ceased coachbuilding the following year, becoming a motor dealer, making this magnificent Silver Wraith one of its swan-song commissions.
    This particular Silver Wraith previously belonged to Jimmy Chipperfield of the eponymous circus-owning dynasty. Copies of factory records on file reveal that chassis number 'WVH110' was originally promised for delivery via Hooper & Co in November 1953 to one A Webber Esq. It is noted on the 'Complete Car Test' report that the Wraith was to have an 'old body mounted on new chassis', the body in question being transferred from 'WLE27'. It appears that Mr Webber never took delivery, as the chassis cards record James S M Chipperfield of Down Farm, Stockbridge, Hampshire as first owner (from 13th August 1954). Special features listed include automatic transmission, the short wheelbase and the new stepped pattern petrol tank. The car was registered 'OLD 8'.
    Not long after taking delivery of his Silver Wraith, Jimmy Chipperfield quit the family business (in 1955) and after a period spent training animals for the movie industry, pioneered the development of drive-through safari parks in the UK, the first of which - the Lions of Longleat - opened in 1966. A photograph on file dating from this period depicts the Rolls-Royce with two tiger cubs and their attendants.
    Jimmy Chipperfield kept the Wraith until 1958 and in September 1959, having passed through the hands of Harold Radford Ltd and Hoffmans of Sheffield, it became the property of Sheffield-based Alpolain Industries Ltd. Its accompanying original logbook lists the car's next private owner as Mr Basil Victor Martin of Bedford Square, London WC1, to whom it was registered on 15th May 1962 (see H R Owen's bill of sale on file). From then until 2011 the Silver Wraith remained in the Martin family's ownership and there are many expired MoT certificates and tax discs on file from this period.
    Restored at date unknown, 'OLD 8' has recently been re-commissioned following years of storage. All the brightwork has been re-chromed to an excellent standard and we are advised that the car runs perfectly and drives very well, the engine registering healthy oil pressure. A handsome motor car with well documented history, 'OLD 8' comes with the aforementioned logbook, copy factory records and expired MoTs, together with sundry invoices, original owner's handbook, current MoT/tax and Swansea V5C registration document for the transferable registraton number 'OLD 8'.

Saleroom notices

  • There are two new overriders present with this car.
Auction information

This auction is now finished. If you are interested in consigning in future auctions, please contact the specialist department. If you have queries about lots purchased in this auction, please contact customer services.

Buyers' Obligations


If you have any complaints or questions about the Conditions of Sale, please contact your nearest customer services team.

Buyers' Premium and Charges

For all Sales categories excluding Wine, Coins & Medals and Motor Cars and Motorcycles:
A successful bidder at this sale will be required to pay Bonhams 1793 Limited ("Bonhams") a premium calculated as follows:

25% on the first £50,000 of the Hammer Price
20% from £50,001 to £1,000,000 the Hammer Price
12% from £1,000,001 of the Hammer Price

VAT at 20% will be payable on the amount of the premium.

The premium is payable for the services to be provided by Bonhams in the Buyer's Agreement which is contained in the catalog for this Sale and for the opportunity to bid for the Lot at the Sale.

Payment Notices

Payment in advance: by cash, check with banker's card, credit card, bank draft or traveler's cheque.

Payment at collection: by credit or debit card.

Credit card charges: a surcharge of 2% is applicable when using Mastercard, Visa and overseas debit cards.

Shipping Notices

For information and estimates on domestic and international shipping as well as export licenses please contact Bonhams Shipping Department.

  1. Tim Schofield
    Specialist - Motor Cars
    101 New Bond Street
    London, United Kingdom W1S 1SR
    Work +44 20 7468 5804
    FaxFax: +44 20 7468 5802
Similar Items